In 30 years, when I’m wildly successful sitting on whatever piece of furniture I choose that evening, draped in a cashmere blanket with a hot cup of tea with a robe and reading glasses on, I’ll look back and remember when it was hard; when I did too much and tried too hard and slept too little. And I think in 30 years, I’ll remember this week as being the beginning of it.
I’ve never worked so hard and gotten paid so little (read: nothing). My mornings are full of classes, the final set of my college career. My afternoons are full of interning at the Dayton City Paper, my first job that really matters. Then I come home and spend the remaining hour of my sleepy and sobbing 1-year-olds day desperately trying to feed her something healthy like pesto potatoes and bananas to make up for her refusing to eat anything but crackers and cheetoes at daycare. It’s exhausting. And now, I sit on the floor of my living room, cluttered with baby toys and the DVD’s Kate tossed on the floor, writing this instead of the article I’ve promised to finish by 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, I know it’s just the beginning.
My life is becoming more than I thought it would… in a way that I’m not sure of (good? bad?). I love to be busy but I haven’t yet decided if I’m becoming happily busy at the expense of my child. When I’m at work, driving all over the city as a pseudo-photographer, collecting sources for an upcoming 2,000 word article assignment I just couldn’t turn down (plus I’ll make money off of it), and playing editorial intern as best I know how, it’s easy to forget I’m a mother.
That sounds horrible. But truthfully, I can only have so many things on my mind before it explodes, and I usually pull out the brain-file of whatever the task I’m doing at the moment, reserving all thoughts of dinner and bedtimes and playtimes for when I get to daycare to pick up Kate and start that phase of my day. I feel guilty for giving Kate a time-slot, but it’s all I can do to get through.
Women are supposed to be the multi-taskers, I thought. But maybe we’re not. Maybe we’re just really good at prioritizing and organizing and classifying what we feel necessary in order of importance and availability.
As soon as I drop Kate off in the morning, I’m a student. I spent the drive onto campus this morning hyperventilating over the fact that I had a test this morning that not only had I forgotten about before, but was completely unprepared for, until I got to school and realized the test is next Friday. Once my last class lets out, I’m in work-mode. I make a mental list of the things I have to do, the things I might have to do, and the things I just can’t and spend the next hours slowly chipping away at the “can’s.”
Finally, I leave work and become mom again. I race through the streets as fast as suburban rush-hour will allow until I get to Kate, stuff her in the car, and stress over Cheetoes.
I can’t wait for 30 years from now. When I can look back and remember the time when I did too much. I’ll remember the time that started with this week and ended who knows how far in the future, but hopefully not remember what it felt like.
Like when you have a cold, all you can think about is how much it sucks and how much you want it to be over, while knowing the worst that could happen is it will strengthen your immune system. Then, the sniffles finally stop, my head finally clears, the sun comes out and I forget what it feels like to be sick anymore.
In 30 years, I’ll remember when I got colds, but I won’t remember what it’s like to be sick.